16 Ugandan LGBT activists given forced anal exams: rights group

accreditation
A Ugandan wearing a mask with a rainbow sticker takes part in the Gay Pride parade in Entebbe. (Isaac Kasamani, AFP)
A Ugandan wearing a mask with a rainbow sticker takes part in the Gay Pride parade in Entebbe. (Isaac Kasamani, AFP)

Sixteen Ugandan LGBT activists were subjected to forced anal examinations after being arrested, the country's leading gay rights organisation said Thursday.

The 16 men were taken into police custody late Monday to protect them from a homophobic mob which had surrounded the house where they were staying, but were then arrested and charged under a colonial-era anti-gay law.

"Last night (Wednesday) the police subjected them to forced anal exams," the Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) Frank Mugisha, told AFP.

Mugisha described the practice as "degrading and inhumane".

Police spokesman Patrick Onyango told AFP by WhatsApp that "following new developments based on the medical examination report it was established that the suspects were involved in sexual acts punishable under the penal code."

Another police spokesman, Fred Enanga, said the men - members of an LGBT activist group called Let's Walk Together - were "released on police bond" on Thursday evening.

There have been no prosecutions for consensual same sex acts in Uganda in recent years, where acts deemed "against the order of nature" can lead to life imprisonment.

According to Human Rights Watch forced anal examinations are a long-discredited technique which aim to determine whether someone has engaged in anal intercourse in order to seek evidence for prosecution.

According to SMUG, attacks against LGBT people have soared in recent weeks since reported comments by Ugandan Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo that he wanted to see the return of legislation thrown out by the courts on procedural grounds in 2014 that would tighten already strict anti-gay legislation.

The government has since clarified it has no intention to introduce new laws.

"I strongly believe that the government of Uganda is not behind any anti-gay law coming up and I also think that they don't want the pressure to continue," SMUG's Mugisha said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Matric results are out! Are you happy with your child's result?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No, the pandemic really messed up their ability to focus
34% - 935 votes
Yes, they did well given the circumstances
66% - 1798 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.59
-0.8%
Rand - Pound
20.89
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
17.38
+0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.90
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.14
+0.0%
Gold
1,791.82
0.0%
Silver
22.47
0.0%
Palladium
2,379.00
0.0%
Platinum
1,016.00
0.0%
Brent Crude
90.03
+0.8%
Top 40
67,021
-0.1%
All Share
73,455
-0.1%
Resource 10
74,081
-1.4%
Industrial 25
90,993
+0.6%
Financial 15
15,218
+1.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE